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  • Last Update : 12:36 pm

Myanmar removes St Martin’s Island from their map

  • Published at 10:17 pm October 7th, 2018
web-St Martin’s Island
File photo of the shoreline of St Martin’s Island, locally known as 'Narikel Jinjira' Syed Zakir Hossain/ Dhaka Tribune

The Foreign Ministry has been asked to check whether the information has been spread in other media as well

Myanmar has removed Bangladesh’s St Martin's Island from their map, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed.

The ministry informed the parliamentary standing committee of the decision at a meeting held on Sunday.

Earlier maps reportedly displayed on two Myanmar government websites, showed St Martin’s Island as part of that country’s territory.

Reacting against it, the Foreign Ministry’s Maritime Affairs Unit Secretary, Rear Admiral (retd) M Khurshed Alam, on Saturday had summoned the Myanmar ambassador in Dhaka, U Lwin Oo, to his office in Dhaka and handed over a strongly-worded protest note.

The ambassador acknowledged the matter saying that it was a "mistake" to show Bangladesh’s lone coral island as part of their territory, according to a diplomat.

Lwin Oo also pledged to discuss the matter with his government and convey Dhaka's concerns.

Also read- Myanmar claims St Martin’s Island is theirs

At Sunday's meeting held in the Parliament Complex, the ministry informed the parliamentary standing committee that after receiving the protest note, Myanmar removed the island, off the coast of Cox’s Bazar, from their territory on their website maps.

Presided over by committee Chairman Dipu Moni, the meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, committee members Faruq Khan, Selim Uddin, and Mahjabeen Khaled.

Faruq Khan later told reporters: "Upon our protests, Myanmar has already removed all information that claimed St Martin's Island as part of their territory from their government websites."

The Foreign Ministry has been asked to check whether the information has been spread in other media as well, he said.

Meanwhile, a press release circulated by the Parliament Secretariat said the meeting also discussed the news reports that pointed out Myanmar's inclusion of St Martin's Island as part of their territory, in Myanmar's Department of Population website. 

The island was never a part of Myanmar if anyone looks back at the history since 1937 and Dhaka says there is an “ulterior motive” behind drawing and sharing the map of Myanmar on websites.

It was part of British-India when Myanmar got separated back in 1937, said a government official, adding that this means it was part of India. "A clear line was drawn in between."

In 1974, it was clearly stated through a signed agreement that the island was part of Bangladesh, said the official.

"Even when Bangladesh won the maritime boundary dispute against Myanmar through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in March 2012, it was clearly mentioned that the island is part of Bangladesh," the official said.

Locally known as “Narikel Jinjira,” 13-sq-km St Martin’s Island is located on the southernmost tip of Bangladesh, separated from the mainland by a 9-km-long wide channel.

The government declared the island an “ecologically critical area” back in 1999.